Though the name of the sector is “light commercial,” it’s no puny weakling when it comes to the work the products in this group does. Rather, units do some heavy lifting in places as diverse as restaurants, retail stores, schools, and office buildings.

Waterfurnace International’s Versatec Ultra Series, Lennox Industries’ Energence™ rooftop unit, and Trane’s high-efficiency packaged gas/electric and cooling units showed their strength by winning gold, silver, and bronze, respectively, in the Light Commercial category ofThe NEWS’seventh annual Dealer Design Awards.

GOLD WINNER: The Versatec Ultra Series is a compact water-source heat pump for water loop and geothermal applications.


The Versatec Ultra Series is a compact water-source heat pump for water loop and geothermal applications. The product is available in a wide selection of capacities from 9,000- to 70,000-Btuh output and seven vertical and seven horizontal models for application flexibility. Units feature single-capacity rotary or scroll compressors that are paired with permanent split capacitor blower motors. Optional variable-speed ECM blower motors are available for improved efficiency and comfort. According to the manufacturer, a Super Quiet Sound Package is also available featuring a multi-density steel laminate compressor mass base plate and a multi-density laminate-lined compressor blanket.

The unit features a robust microprocessor control that monitors LP, hp, condensate, field-selectable thermistor freeze detection, while providing a fault output scheme. The optional FX10 control provides capability in several areas including performance monitoring, zoning, humidity, energy management, and service diagnosis, and then communicates it all through standard DDC protocols.

Two removable compressor access panels aid in the installation process. Horizontal units have separate air handler and compressor sections, permitting service testing without air bypass. Quick-attach wiring harnesses offers fast servicing. The removable blower inlet rings allow for ease of service without removing the blower housing. The standard Versatec microprocessor control board provides complete monitoring and control with fault, status, and I/O LED indication for easy servicing. One judge commented, “I was impressed with the installation information and what appears to be very easy. The service data was excellent. … The coil coating makes a lot of sense. I like it.”

SILVER WINNER: The Energence™ 3- to 50-ton packaged rooftop unit line rated up to 17 SEER features the intelligent Prodigy™ control system.


The Energence™ 3- to 50-ton packaged rooftop unit line rated up to 17 SEER features the intelligent Prodigy™ control system to guide technicians through installation, verify proper unit operation, transfer set points from unit to unit, and accurately record each instance of service and maintenance.

The rooftop unit can be installed in most light commercial buildings under four stories tall, including schools, retail stores, office buildings, restaurants, warehouses, and other buildings.

The proprietary Prodigy™ control system consists of the Prodigy™ unit controller and SmartWire™. An intuitive, easy-to-use interface features a guided menu setup to reduce the complexity of start-up and commissioning. The run-time of key system components, such as compressors, blower, and condensing fans, as well as dehumidification mode and date-/time-stamped alarm codes, is recorded to the system and can be saved to a standard USB drive for easy transfer of information.

The self-test mode verifies component and system performance. Push buttons simplify navigation, setup, and diagnostics without dip switches. The blower belt auto tensioner helps ensure proper airflow and eases belt change.

A judge remarked, “This is a positive improvement in rooftop equipment, starting with the unit footprint that minimizes the need for curb adapters. The startup procedures, run time, and test features are important service factors. The de- humidification systems make the product revolutionary in this size unitary equipment. The insulation addresses airborne bacteria issues. The LEED points and the green initiatives make this a good product.”

And another judge liked features the unit offers, saying, “It looks as if it will speed up installation, start-up, and troubleshooting.”

BRONZE WINNER: The Precedent high-efficiency packaged gas/electric and cooling units feature the patented Hybrid Condensing Coil.


The Precedent high-efficiency packaged gas/electric and cooling units are models (up to 13 EER) that feature the patented Hybrid Condensing Coil, a new plenum fan, three stages of cooling, higher external static (ESP) capability, and phase monitors.

The units also have the flexibility to be applied on a standard Trane curb. All three-phase Precedent units feature standard, factory-installed phase monitors to improve the reliability of the system, ensuring proper protection from single-phasing or brown-outs.

According to the manufacturer, the Precedent light commercial packaged unit is perfect for any commercial application (typically one or two story buildings) such as K-12 schools, restaurants, office buildings, retail stores, industrial parks, churches, and theaters.

A smoother design with rounded corners eliminates sheet metal cuts from sharp edges. Recessed access handles reduce shipping damage, allows the installer or servicer to handle the service panels and eliminate broken handles from improper use. Reduced crating creates less waste to dispose of at site.

The IAQ double-sloped reversible PVC drain pan can be removed easily for cleaning. The unit is able to have drain connections on either side of the unit. It offers foil-faced insulation; insulation edges captured or sealed prevents insulation from getting in the airstream.


Gold Winner:
WaterFurnace International
Versatec Ultra Series

Silver Winner:
Lennox Industries
Energence™ Rooftop Unit

Bronze Winner:
Trane Precedent High Efficiency Packaged Gas/Electric and Cooling Units (7½, 8½ & 10 tons)

Honorable Mentions:
LG Electronics
Multi-V Sync II


Publication date:07/12/2010